Car owners protected from first crash with occasional unlisted drivers

PEOPLE who occasionally lend their vehicles to friends or other unlisted non-household members will not have to purchase additional protection in case of a crash, due to changes to ICBC’s new insurance rating model.

The Province has directed ICBC to put forward additional changes that will improve fairness in how basic insurance is calculated. Once approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC), the following adjustments to the insurance rating model will take effect for policies beginning on or after September 1, 2019:

1. Unlisted Driver Protection (UDP) will be updated so owners only need to consider purchasing it after one crash involving an unlisted driver is linked to any of their vehicles. ICBC’s original new rate design model gave people the option to purchase UDP if they planned to lend their vehicles to occasional drivers who are not a household member or not an employee. Occasional drivers are those who may drive a vehicle 12 or fewer days in a year and meet certain additional criteria. Purchasing UDP was one way for the vehicle owner to avoid a one-time financial consequence if the occasional driver got into a crash and was not listed as a driver. This change will help with the transition to an updated model where listing other drivers is a new concept.

2. The driving history of lower-risk drivers will not be used in calculating the premium for that vehicle if they are not household members or employees. This will prevent people from adding low-risk drivers to their policies to artificially reduce their insurance premiums and protect other ratepayers from carrying that cost through increased rates.

3. The limitation period for repaying previous insurance claims will be extended. Drivers will now have until August 31, 2020, to decide whether to repay claims made between March 1, 2017, and August 31, 2019. This will ensure drivers have enough information in the first year of the new rating model to decide whether repaying the claim benefits them by preventing increases to their insurance premiums.

Government deposited two orders-in-council on May 10 to direct these changes to ICBC’s basic insurance rate design. The first directs ICBC to apply to the BCUC for the above noted changes to the rate design model. The second directs BCUC to approve the changes within 10 days of receiving ICBC’s application. These changes are part of ICBC’s new basic insurance rating model.